One of the most glorious occurrences in all of sports is when an NBA player goes on a heater in the playoffs. Think Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray in the Bubble, or Damian Lillard against the Nuggets a couple of years ago when he dropped a double-nickel while hitting shots that take a level of mastery even video games find unrealistic. That’s what we’re seeing with Devin Booker right now.
The Phoenix Suns needed every bit of Booker’s 47 points, and all of Durant’s 39, to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole to the Denver Nuggets, and stay afloat this postseason, winning Game 3, 121-114. Friday night’s performance from the Suns’ duo was everything sports fans love, and as unsustainable as I keep saying Phoenix’s approach to winning is, those two only have one gear when the playoffs start. My knowledge of cars is suspect so let’s call it overdrive, but whatever they’re in, they’re red-lining.
Booker has scored the most points through the first eight games of a playoffs (248) since Michael Jordan in 1988 (315), and that’s the kind of stat so impressive I just had to steal it from Sportscenter. It’s clear Denver is going to have to put down Phoenix like a rabid dog, and that’s always entertaining.
It’s akin to LeBron James against Golden State in their last finals matchup where it took a team of experienced handlers to contain one beast. Technically, there are two Dobermans frothing at the mouth for Phoenix, but both teams feel eerily outmatched collectively, and KD and Booker scored 86 of the squad’s 121 in a game that was close until the end.
No other Sun was in double figures, and the fourth and fifth leading shot-takers on the team — T.J. Warren and Terrance Ross — tripled or quadrupled their minutes this postseason. Speaking of playing time, KD and Booker both surpassed the 40-minute mark again Friday, which has happened in every game this postseason except one. (Durant only played 36 minutes in the Game 1 loss in Denver, and Booker still hasn’t clocked less than 40 minutes in a contest during these playoffs.)
Monte Williams is searching for five rotation players after Durant, Booker, and Deandre Ayton, which makes what the two superstars are doing even more impressive. I mean, the workload is borderline irresponsible, but I’m not not going to watch.
I will happily print out and eat my last piece on the Suns if they’re able to overcome the Nuggets because NBA fans have happened upon a hot craps table. Snake eyes is inevitably coming, but until then, I’m enjoying this unbelievable run along with everybody else. Like the now-canceled future father-in-law says in The Hangover, you never walk away from the table when you’re on a heater.
Watch as an MLB announcer commits career Harry Caray on-air
Oakland A’s announcer Glen Kuiper joined the team and its fans in their very bad, no good, and unequivocally embarrassing season Friday night with a brutal mental blunder that can only be described as “career-ending.”
Kuiper’s “phenomenal” day ended literally the word after he proclaimed it as such, and he did issue an apology later in the game. ESPN’s headline regarding the gaffe called the (Freudian?) slip an “apparent racial slur,” and I’m unclear as to how it could be any clearer.
My guess is a lot of people didn’t know who Glen Kuiper was before Friday night, and you know he’s wishing for some of that sweet anonymity right about now.